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Beyond the Warring States : the First World War and the redemptive critique of modernity in the work of Du Yaquan (1873-1933)

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The intellectual impact of the First World War in China is often understood as having led to a disenchantment with the West and a discrediting of the authority of U+201CscienceU+201D, while at the same time ushering in a renewed sense of cultural as well as national U+201CawakeningU+201D. Important developments such as the May Fourth Movement, the rise of Chinese Marxism, and the emergence of modern Confucianism have become integral parts of the narrative surrounding the effects of the U+201CEuropean WarU+201D in China, and bear witness to the contested relation between tradition and modernity in twentieth-century Chinese thought. Through a case study of a number of wartime and post-war texts written by the U+201Ccultural conservativeU+201D thinker and publicist Du Yaquan (1873U+20131933), this paper tries to draw attention to the complexity and occasional ambiguity of responses to the U+201CGreat WarU+201D in modern Chinese intellectual history. More specifically, the following pages offer an analysis of DuU+2019s critique of U+201CmaterialismU+201D in the context of his quest for social freedom and cultural continuity, his enduring commitment to scientific notions of social evolution and political governance, and his approach to the relations among war, the nation-state, the individual, and the international interstate order developed against the background of the First World War.
ISSN: 2350-4226
Issue: 2
Volume: 9
Pages: 49 - 77